Category Archives: Organization/Less is More

Parenting Your Child, Parenting Yourself-Age Appropriate Jobs Through Age 9

Phyllis Dillar once said, “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.”

Until your youngest child is around 9 years old, don’t focus on how neat the house is. Focus on training your children to pick up after themselves and take care of themselves. Training a child to do household work has to begin at a young age. Although training an older child is possible, the difficulty of doing so rises proportionally with the age of the child.

Here is a guideline. This is only a guideline. I do not attempt to include everything for every age. Also, some children can do some jobs at an earlier age while some children are not ready for certain jobs at the same age. Some children are more independent than others. Tailor the expectations to the individual child.

Age 2:  Can put away toys with A LOT of help. This may mean that the parent puts away most of the toys, and the child puts away one or two toys. When my children were this age, I purchased totes. Dress-up went in one tote, dolls, clothing and accessories went in another tote, cars, ramps, street signs etc., went into a third tote, etc. Don’t waste time trying to sort. Grouping like items together will help your child with organizational skills, which will lead to success in math, English, and science later in life.

Age 3/4: Can put away toys with some help. This means the parent puts away around half the toys and the child puts away half the toys. I want to emphasize that at this age, the parent and child have to do this together. A parent telling a child, “Pick up your toys,” can be overwhelming to a child. Also, you are modeling to the child how to do the task. Other skills the child can work to master: choosing his/her own clothes, folding wash cloths, drying/sorting silverware, measuring ingredients and mixing them in a bowl. Again, these skills will lead to success in school. The key at this age is to be consistent, perform the task with the child, and expect the child to do the task immediately when told to do so.

Age 5/6: At this age, supervision is extremely important. Can put away toys without help. The parent has to say, “Go into the living room and pick up your toys.” At this age, the child is still too young for the parent to say, “After supper, pick up your toys.” The child simply will not remember to do this and does not have the self-discipline to do it even if s/he does remember.  Children at this age can also pick out outfits for school, fold wash clothes/towels, unload the dishwasher (This depends on the storage situation. I, personally, do not recommend for children to stand on chairs to put away dishes.), put his/her own dishes in the dishwasher, follow a simple recipe with help. I do not recommend for a child to put items in the oven at this age. I also do not recommend for children of this age to cook on the stove. I did not allow my children to use the stove until they could reach the pans comfortably while standing in front of it. Also, they had to demonstrate the self-control necessary to avoid injury.

Age 7-9: I want to emphasize, at the age, the child must be supervised by an adult when performing these tasks, but the child should be able to perform the tasks independently. By this age, the child can do all of the above (except put items in the oven/cook on the stove) and should be able to follow a simple routine. The child probably will not be able to unload the dishwasher at five-o’clock, pick up toys at seven-o’clock, and take a bath at seven-thirty. However, the child can be trained to unload the dishwasher when s/he gets home from school, pick up toys immediately after supper, and take a bath after picking up toys. The child can also begin to be responsible for his/her own school supplies. I trained my children to leave their backpacks by the front door when they arrived home. At a certain time, I instructed them to remove any graded papers/letters to home, etc., from their backpacks and place them on the table. Then, they did their homework. After homework was finished, they placed the backpack by the door again. In the morning, all they had to do was grab the backpack on their way out.

 

Parenting Your Child, Parenting Yourself–Children’s Schedules

With the school year approaching, and my writing becoming more prolific, my husband and I need schedules, not only for ourselves, but also for our children. This post presupposes  a couple of things: first, you, as the parent, have established appropriate authority over your child, and two, that you have already trained your child to do whatever jobs which you schedule them to do.

At the beginning of the summer, my husband and I agreed on a schedule for our children–one adult daughter who just graduated from college and is living at home temporarily, and one teen daughter who will be a senior in high school. Since then, we have been working with our daughters, and each other, to make the schedule fit our needs.

Notice, first and foremost, the schedules for our daughters fit the needs of my husband and me, not the needs of our children. That is important. The parents have to be the first and foremost consideration in the schedule. Of course, you will see that your children’s needs are met, but too often, parents make their schedules revolve around their children, neglecting their own needs.

The schedule is in the form of a chart. Each daughter has her own chart with a rotating schedule of jobs. Here is a sample:

Daughter One
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Morning Jobs Finish Before Leaving House
Clear/Load

Dishwasher

Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash Clear/Load

Dishwasher

Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash Clear/Load

Dishwasher

Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash
Afternoon Jobs Finish Before 8:00 p.m. Unless Otherwise Noted
Make Supper: Must Be Done By 6:00 p.m. Wash/Dry/Put Away One Load Towels Clean Downstairs Bathroom Vacuum Living Area

 

Daughter Two
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Morning Jobs Finish Before Leaving House
Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash Clear/Load

Dishwasher

Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash Clear/Load

Dishwasher

Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash Clear/Load

Dishwasher

Afternoon Jobs Finish Before 8:00 p.m. Unless Otherwise Noted
Vacuum Living Area Make Supper: Must Be Done by 6:00 p.m. Clean Upstairs Bathroom Wash/Dry/Put Away One Load Towels

Note: The schedule is flexible. If one daughter has a commitment on the night she is scheduled to make supper, she can change to a different night–as long as she works that out with my husband and me ahead of time.

Once the younger daughter starts extra-curricular activities, the schedule can work around her homework and activities. The older daughter’s schedule can work around her part-time job.

The above schedule assumes a few things. First, my daughters do all of their own laundry. They also clean up their own kitchen messes. They don’t leave books, papers, etc., lying around the house. They also have jobs feeding the animals, etc., which I didn’t list on the chore chart simply because they have been doing those for so long that they are assumed.

If you want to establish a schedule/routine, for your family, I suggest starting now, before school starts, or as soon after school starts as possible. Watch for my next post, “What are age appropriate expectations for children?”

 

 

 

 

Research

I spent about an hour and a half yesterday reading two books:  This Must Be My Brother  by Leann Thieman and Carol Dey  and The Vietnamese Boat People, 1954 and 1975–1992
by Nghia M. Vo .  I vaguely remember the first story, so I either read the book when I was younger or watched a show on television about it. The story takes place over the course of two days and is a fast, easy read. The second book is more in-depth. I am probably going to have to read it two or three times to really understand what it is saying.

Writing a book takes a lot more than just sitting down and putting words on paper. Any book, even a fiction book, takes time, research, planning, and time. If you are writing a book, give yourself time to make it the best it possibly can be before publishing it. Taking the time and necessary steps will be worth it, to you, and to your readers.